There are some encouraging points here that must be highlighted:
~We have not thrown away any wasted food. (I did have a mishap cooking some fish, but that wasn't us wasting food. That was me watching too much Chopped on Food Network.) So, although the budget is higher than I want, the food IS being consumed.
~We did figure out that we are spending much less on dining which is upping our grocery budget some. (Eating at home is almost always cheaper. Big dining budgets will never save your grocery budget. Ever.)
~The Lord has been patient with our efforts. We've been able to pull funds from some other budget categories - that we really shouldn't have been able to- which has allowed the overall August budget to remain intact. As always, heavenly math astounds me.
~Having a tight budget has kept us from lots of unnecessary spending. I'm never going to blow the budget on a big purchase. I'm always a nickel and dime kind of person. Knowing that the grocery budget was impossibly low kept my eyes on the prize. Imagine my own surprise when I put back a $3 item just because it wasn't a NEED.
Here's the take home for those in Readerville who are new to budgeting or struggling with money stuff: Your budget isn't written on stone tablets. That's the 10 Commandments. Anything else can be changed, finessed, and worked. Budgets will not work for you if you don't work on them. I can't spend as much as I have in other categories (dining, for instance) if I'm over in groceries. The math on that is simple, but the lesson is frustrating and potentially painful. (for me, too, and I've been doing this a good long time!)